My love affair with the Mass Effect series goes back 7 years to when Mass Effect 2 released. I vividly remember sitting on my couch in my downtown studio apartment, feet on the coffee table, watching the loading screens come and go. I didn’t go in with any preconceived notions. I was hoping it would be good, but I’d settle for ok. The worst thing I can do is go in with high expectations. The last time I did that was when I paid $12 to see Terminator: Genisys in the theater. Last time I made that mistake.
So I play through the beginning scenes. Ship getting blasted to high hell, Seth Green shouting at me, and Shepard staggering for balance. I take a sip of my overly-caffeinated Starbucks beverage and settle in for the night. “Not a bad start,” I think to myself. Next thing I know it’s about 4 in the morning, and I wonder where the night went. Looks like that coffee did the trick. But the truth is, how often are we so engaged in a game that we lose track of that much time? I hadn’t had that black hole of time since my college days with the original Halo multiplayer where we’d scream shit talk down the fraternity house hallways. Sure, hazing is against state laws, but that doesn’t mean I can’t let the pledge down the hall know I no-scope head shotted him from across the map.
I was hooked. I played through twice over the course of the next month, one for paragon and one for renegade. I admit I liked the renegade more, especially when it came to getting Tali’Zorah out of trouble with her government. I hadn’t seen that level of ass chewing in years.
My favorite part of the Mass Effect series however is and always was that at any moment I could make Shepard go after someone to shut them up. Even in paragon I would go after people because, let’s be real, ain’t nobody going to talk to me that way. Even if I am the good guy.
It wasn’t the mechanics, which were awesome. It wasn’t the graphics, which I loved. It wasn’t the relationships I built with my shipmates, which were lovely. It was that I could shut up someone on a dime. Priceless.
After both play throughs, I did what any dedicated fan would do: I purchased the original, and then played through that twice. Then I replayed ME: 2 twice. Then I waited (impatiently) for ME: 3 to release. Which when it did I played through three times quickly.
And now we have Mass Effect: Andromeda. No more Shepard, but that’s ok. S/he had a good run. Numerous romances and lives saved later, we can move on without feeling like s/he still has something in the tank.
What do we expect from Andromeda? Honestly, I don’t know. Like I wrote earlier, I temper my expectations. But this doesn’t mean that I don’t expect certain things; it just means that I am removing my emotional attachment to them. So for better or for worse, here are my expectations for Mass Effect: Andromeda.
1. We’ll need more than 2 play throughs to get all the content. I loved how the first games in the series wove straight paths. I expect that this won’t be the exact same this time around. Now, I imagine we can get most of the content in a couple play throughs, but I think some will only be attainable using different permutations of decisions.
2. The galaxy will be bigger than ever before. I don’t mean scannable planets, which if I may say, was a great home-from-the-bars activity years ago. I mean I expect that it’ll be more open than ever before. As I type this I realize this is more of a want than an expectation.
3. The romances will be spicier! I mean, when Shepard took a mate in the previous installments, it didn’t really affect other characters all that much. I think a lot of that was due to the fact that you couldn’t get to that part in the game until you were basically done with the game, but still. I expect fireworks, and then I expect fireworks.
At least we don’t have long to wait! March 21 is right around the corner. We’ll only be 1 week into March Madness, and that means we can get 2 days of high play time before games resume!